Turning pages in the magazines or flipping through TV channels, you meet the goddesses of beauty, smiling down at you enigmatically, making you promises of eternal, youthful looks.
Mesmerized by the parade of flawless faces and perfect skin, you’re lured to try the next fantastic potion to give you that forever ageless look in just a couple of weeks. You’ve bought quite a few of these elixirs of hope, yet the results were profoundly disappointing. Were your expectations too high, or the promises unreal? At this point you wonder: is there anything that really works?
Yes, there is. Following is a list of ingredients that are scientifically grounded and tested rigorously. They will improve the texture of your skin and make it look smoother, more even and younger when used regularly and continuously. Dramatic change cannot happen in a matter of days as a result of using a cream or a lotion. Such improvements can only be achieved through other beauty routines such as lasers, fillers or cosmetic surgery.
The ingredients that can produce skin rejuvenation over time are well known to the dermatological profession. Accordingly, they are sold in many beauty products, and price is not the issue. They are sold over-the-counter containing limited active ingredients or by prescription with a higher percentage of actives, based on FDA regulations. Read your label; the list of ingredients tells you clearly what’s in the formula.
At the top of our lists for effective treatments of wrinkles, fine lines and other signs of aging skin are topical retinoids which are vitamin A derivatives. Available in non-prescription and prescription strength, retinoids actually increase the turnover of the cells and increase collagen to make the skin plumper and firmer over time. While retinoids are effective, they are also irritating to many. A good solution is to mix the retinoid with a regular moisturizer (50/50) before applying, so they become tolerable.
Women with very sensitive skin may choose a formulation with poly-hydroxy acids which are less irritating. Also, especially when using retinoids, it is necessary to apply sun protection daily, a basic step to help protect skin against aging no matter what beauty routine one follows.
Next in effective actives include alpha-hydroxy acid, azelaic acid, kojic acid and salicylic acid having demonstrated improvement in treating signs of aging skin. Usually combined with antioxidants like vitamin A or beta-hydroxy acids, they help improve the appearance of the skin to look smoother and younger.
Finally, annoying age spots can be effectively treated with Hydroquinone. This topically applied bleaching solution is both available in over-the-counter as well as prescription strength.
The promise of stem cell products that can produce true skin miracles is on the horizon. We are following many of these biotech trials but unfortunately none of these fabulous scientific products are ready for commercial distribution. In the meantime, you can find the effective ingredients we describe in readily available creams and lotions from most major brands. Compare the ingredients to know what you’re buying beyond fancy promises.